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September 17, 2013 > Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

By Miriam G. Mazliach

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting held on September 11, 2013.

Prior to the start of the meeting, Board President Larry Sweeney asked attendees for a moment of silence in memory of "9/11" and in recognition of "all those serving to protect our freedoms."

Community Leadership/Superintendent's Report:
Fremont Schools Superintendent, Dr. James Morris stated that the Board had approved the acquisition of real property located at 53068 Fremont Blvd.

Supt. Morris thanked the FUSD schools' staffs and those at the District office for a "smooth start to the school year." He noted that there was an increase in the number of students and that more students had to be overloaded this year.

Agenda Item - Unaudited Actuals:
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Raul Parungao and the Director of Accounting, Robert Pascual presented their report to the Board, as required by the Education Code before the September 15 deadline. Their financial report on the 2012 - 2013 school year outlined how the year concluded financially. The District's reserve grew from $19.8 million to $21 million, a $1.3 million increase. The General Fund ended with a fund balance of $32.9 million indicating an increase of $11.7 million over the projected balance, due mostly to unspent categorical program funds. Unfunded liability to our district is $114 million. The Board unanimously accepted the report.

Agenda Item - State Testing Results:
Director of Assessment and Instruction, Dr. Jan March, spoke on FUSD's students' STAR (State Standardized Testing and Reporting) results. Students in grades two through eleven took these standards-based exams in the spring. The results indicate the API (Academic Performance Index) which measures the academic growth of schools in a variety of areas, including the CAHSEE graduation test rate and how we are doing on closing the achievement gap. March stated that overall FUSD had a 90.7 pass rate on the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). The overall District API was 891. Regarding STAR tests, although there was growth among African-American and Hispanic students, the rate was lower than that of the main group of FUSD students. The state will continue to require the CAHSEE exam, even though Common Core Standards are being introduced at the school districts.

Agenda Item - Approve Farsi (Dari) for World Language Credit:
An outside course for high school credit was approved by the board for Farsi (Dari), to be taught through the Ibrahim Khalilullah Islamic Community Center. Over the years, FUSD has approved various World Language Schools in order to meet the many language requirement needs of the district's students. The curriculum of the Farsi course was prepared by college professors and a similar course is offered by Cal State University East Bay. It is being offered only for students in grades eight through eleven, as an additional option for the foreign language requirement. The Board approved this item unanimously.

Agenda Item - Enrollment Update:
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Raul Parungao gave an update on the district's student enrollment numbers. In Fremont, there are 33,584 students attending schools for the 2013 - 2014 school year. It appears that enrollment will continue to grow by approximately 350 students or more each upcoming year.

Additionally, under the new law which assigns more local control of funds for education, (Budget Act of 2013 - 2014), FUSD must implement a gradual class size reduction in order to earn about $6 million on its part. The Board previously approved lowering the class size for Kindergarten to 28 students/per teacher, grades one through six at 30 students per teacher, and at the secondary level, 27.5 students to one teacher.

Parungao also stated that in addition to students previously overloaded in the last school year, there are 506 newly overloaded students this year.

Agenda Item - Long Range Facilities Planning:
Community forums have been taking place at various school sites to discuss and hear from parents, students and administrators about what is needed or wished for at each location. Dr. Morris explained that the district is looking at existing facilities, seeing how enrollment is going and how to plan for the number of students, as well as develop plans on what work needs to be done, school by school. Each school will then hold follow-up meeting to continue with the planning process. For more information, visit the district website at www.fremont.k12.ca.us.

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